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Old 12-27-2014, 01:59 AM   #21
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One thing that strikes me is the frequent comment on here from US based boaties re clogged fuel filters from dirty fuel. Is this a common occurrence there in the US, or is it really as rare as it appears to be in our part of the world, where I have never heard of it being the cause of a boats engine to fail..? Cooling failures, prop wraps, running out of fuel - yes - have heard of all those, but filters clogging - no.

However, one thing I would do if the boat was not set up that way, (as mine is), is to take the fuel from the lowest point of the tanks, (after a good clean out if necessary), and have dual filters and a by-pass filter option as well if going off-shore, so the fuel is always coming from the bottom, and any crud/condensation water etc, is filtered out immediately and not collecting in the bottom of the tanks below the pick-up tube, ready to be stirred up and clog your filter in the rough weather just when you least want it to. You could call it the poor man's fuel polishing system, but it's effective. Works for me. I change the filters every few years, just because, but not because the engine has ever missed a beat because of fuel starvation. I believe Nordhavns are set up this way. That says something. Am I right Oliver or Twistedtree..?
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Old 12-27-2014, 02:11 AM   #22
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All you guys who say you've never lost an engine should be sacrificing a goat or at the very least pouring a stiff rum for Neptune!

My single Lehman quit on me, plugged filter. Switched to my spare and away we went. But the fussing and fear of losing an engine is a trade off against all the hassle of babying two engines. The boat I replaced the GB 32 with has one engine too, a bigger one. I prefer one. What can I say? For the record, my 9 hp Honda on my 10' Avon pushes the big boat quite well but thinking of it as a breakdown aid is pointless unless it's in a sheltered, wind-free bay.

I'm going out to find a goat...
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Old 12-27-2014, 04:33 AM   #23
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Greetings,
Mr. Br. I pretty much agree with all that's been said thus far but another consideration is: Does any particular model of vessel that you like even have the OPTION of single or twins? Our specific vessel was never available with a single although a single was my strong desire when looking at boats for purchase.
Yes - a few of them do have the option. A number of the single engined boats such as Nordhavn and Selene have an optional wing engine - you see used ones for sale with and without that option. Also, of the 8 Krogen 54 pilothouses made, 2 had twins and the rest were single screw.

In the end I need to decide, for myself, if I am ok with a single engine boat with no backup propulsion. That could rule out some boats I find right from that start.

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Old 12-27-2014, 04:43 AM   #24
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...

No I am not trying to say you have to have twins............... I AM JUST SAYING.......WHATS PEACE OFMIND WORTH TO YOU !! I mean you started this thread now didn't you , well there must be some concern or you would not have posted this question......
Simply stop and way out your options and concerns...........you will figure it out.
Happy cruising and engines that never fail you !!
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Thanks Jim. Yes I have concerns and I do need to figure it out. I deliberately didn't ask people if it was a good idea - because that's too personal. Rather I figured that there are a lot of very experienced, safe and intelligent skippers out there in single engine boats. I wanted to understand how they approach the issue to determine if I could be one of them.

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Old 12-27-2014, 05:13 AM   #25
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Richard,
I run a single engine boat and yes now I do have sail power as an aux. For 15 years I did not and here in Australia we don't have a tow boat service unless you are cruising in a harbour area or very close to a major port.
As a marine engineer I am very competent in repair/servicing of my engines.
My major concern is newer electronic engines. Personally I would not run one as a single if I was going off shore, unless I was carrying a spare computer module and had done a course in replacing it.
This is one of the reasons of going old school when I replaced the engine in Tidahapah some 3 or 4 years ago.
I also don't believe you have to carry a full charge of coolant. If you do your coolant complete , just fill it up with water until you get back to port and do a recharge, it ain't going to kill your engine in the short term.

It all come down to your own competency, spares and repair/service state of the engine you have.
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Old 12-27-2014, 06:33 AM   #26
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I experienced an engine failure on our twin. The engine blew a piston and melted the valves in that cylinder. Surprisingly the engine would still turn to 1400 rpm. We got home on the other engine and to dock I started the failed engine. Tow boat not needed.
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Old 12-27-2014, 08:55 AM   #27
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We're a single engine boat and have spent most of our time out side the US. I consider myself a good mechanic and have lots of spares, even carry a spare dampener plate. We have Boat US towing insurance that covers up to $2,5000 plus another ~$2,000 from our boat policy (Boat US is primary and I have to contact them first). We are rarely more than 100 miles from shore. Those dollars can go pretty far if needed in our typical cruising areas. The odds of having a catastrophic failure aren't that high IMHO or having a breakdown that I can't fix. There are so many things that can wrong and I just don't worry about having a single.
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Old 12-27-2014, 09:11 AM   #28
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Been on the water 50yrs, been towed twice (outboards excluded) both times damper-plate & w/o warning. Both times replaced them on my mooring, so could have been done at sea with the proper tools and spares aboard.
Listen to your damper plate with the hatch open once in a while, use fail-safe damper plate when you replace.
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Old 12-27-2014, 09:41 AM   #29
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So could a really pissed off sperm whale. .
Wifey B: Now I understand...it all comes together. Just the other day someone was commenting, "Marin could even piss off a sperm whale." lol
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Old 12-27-2014, 10:33 AM   #30
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Richard,
Engine failure is only one thing to consider in S. E. Alaska. The waters are log infested and a hazard to twin engines. We live less then a mile from a very small boat yard and it is very common to see a twin hauled due to damage to both port and stb shafts, struts, props and rudders. There have also been sinkings from struts and or rudders pushed up though the hull. Some of the visitors to our area carry additional running gear because these items are not on the shelf here. We do have folks that fix the boats running gear and make the hull repairs too. Ken
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Old 12-27-2014, 11:08 AM   #31
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Yes, logs everywhere in the PNW. Whales too! And rain, buckets of it. Hazards galore. Do not come to the PNW.

That said, logs in SE Alaska are minuscule in comparison to lower BC. A weather eye is important in a single too. But at 8 knots or so pretty easy to avoid the stuff that is lurking our there. That and lay off the cocktail hour until in the slip or anchorage.

One thing I note in and around Sitka are the go fast twin engine fishing boats. At 25 knots in the fog, darkness and rain while hauling a charter group to the "grounds," anything can jump and grab you. Glad these guys have radar and AIS, at least they seem to miss our vessel.
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Old 12-27-2014, 11:14 AM   #32
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One other thing to consider is how fast you can make a repair and what is your tolerance for sea sickness. For example, suppose you suddenly hear an alarm and your engine temperature gauge reads 250 degrees F. The first thing you must do is shutdown the engine. The waters are rough and it's too deep to anchor. Your SO or other crew is now terrified as you turn beam to the sea.

You dash to the engine room which is now red hot and you need to change an impeller. You can can't get near that hot engine and the rocking and rolling is making you sick. You can imagine the rest. And, this is not a far fetched situation.

You will often hear that the big commercial fishing boats are single engine. Keep in mind that their goal is to fill the boat with fish or crab and a second engine is not only expensive but takes up "profitability" space. They also have experienced crew aboard that can probably tear down the engine and overhaul it at sea.

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Old 12-27-2014, 11:21 AM   #33
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Sunchaser,
We were heading north in Johnstone St. 2 days after a log barge lost it's cargo in a storm. Ten hours of weaving through, pushing and bouncing over lost logs. Yep, familiar with BC log issues. Ken
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Old 12-27-2014, 11:35 AM   #34
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We have a single and have had engine problems including one total failure in Georgia Strait. We had a slow down (to slow idle) for several minutes right off Cape Caution BC. I now know what the problem was and have rebuilt the entire supply side of the fuel system excluding the tanks. Actually I had one more engine failure right in Thorne Bay about 4 minutes from our slip.
So I have some lustful thoughts about twins and good get me homes but I'll probably just continue to slog along on one engine and get ever better at preventative maintenance. Concentrating on fuel and cooling systems.
Sure would be nice to have a single screw boat w twin engines. Then I'd hit a log (been there done that) bend the prop bad and wish I had a regular twin.
Tripple screws has merit also IMO. One could run two at 75% load and have the third for extra power ..... that I don't think anyone needs. Or run one (center engine) for fishing or other slow running. It does give options.
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Old 12-27-2014, 12:30 PM   #35
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Quote:
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We had a slow down (to slow idle) for several minutes right off Cape Caution BC.
Must have been nerve wracking to say the least!

We came around the corner heading south in sea kayaks (with everything disappearing and only sky above at the bottom of the swells) then met two ocean going tugs without tows racing north...things got a tad confused while their wakes were crossing each other.
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Old 12-27-2014, 03:28 PM   #36
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The single engine thing

I have twin NA Hino EH-700 for power, I'am a competent mechanic, made a living at for 40 + years. I've seen some sudden failures, a few were catastrophic, the simple failure to start or produce power were usually a fuel delivery or control problem a plugged air filter, sometimes a starting or charging circuit problem. I've never found dirty fuel from marinas a problem, if that's a problem in the area you cruise then carry plenty of filters or find a different source of fuel. Turbos will eventually fail but proper starting and a cool down period before killing the engine will lessen the chance of premature failure. Catastrophic failures include broken crankshafts, the machine kept running, the clutch wouldn't disengage and couldn't be adjusted. Dropped valves, spun crank and rod bearings, blown head gaskets, broken oil pump drive shaft. Completely blown engines that came unraveled and blew big holes in the block. The thing most of these had in common was thousands of hours on the meters and in a few a certain model in certain applications, these had way over the amount of hours a large majority of us will ever put on our engines.
My answer to the OP would be #2, a properly maintained and operated engine would not be anything I would worry about on a cruising boat. Stock the spares needed to do 200 to 300 hours of routine maintenance, filters, oil, belts, impellers, a oring kit, gasket material, raw water pump, a starter and alternator. Depending on where you cruise a running gear problem is more likely to stop you than a properly maintained engine that's why I carry a set of props, I'll eventually add a shaft and strut. One other thing pay attention to your engine, look for oil or coolant leaks, if one starts check it out, find the reason and then repair. Listen to your engine and watch your gauges, if something changes check it out, find out what's caused the change, your engine will try to tell there's a problem developing before it has a major failure. I would add this is my experience with a few common brands and models found in excavation and construction equipment - Caterpillar, Detroit, Mack, J Deere, IH, Duetz, Murphy, and limited Cummins and of course Hinos.
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Old 12-27-2014, 03:53 PM   #37
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I'am a competent mechanic, made a living at for 40 + years. My answer to the OP would be #2, a properly maintained and operated engine would not be anything I would worry about on a cruising boat. .
What engine setup would you do for cruising off the Pacific Coast if you were not a competent and experienced mechanic.
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Old 12-27-2014, 04:01 PM   #38
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The single engine thing

I worked for an international agency in salmon management for 34 years. I started my career as a biological technician working on charters of commercial salmon vessels. I went on to supervise that program and then to oversee the general operations of the program as well as a Hydroacoustics program. We chartered the finest fishermen available on both sides of the line. During my tenure, I can remember only one instance where a boat failed to operate or was dead in the water due to engine failure (with the exception of one group of individuals who were not representative of the norm). I'm guessing that probably represents 500+ charter days per year or 17,000 charter days. There were other failures that resulted in missed fishing time, but these were usually due to failures of fishing equipment (hydraulic lines) or net damage. Never did running gear or failure of transmissions cause a breakdown on the water. All of these vessels are older than 30 years of age now and all with the exception of one vessel were equipped with naturally aspirated engines and no turbo. Only a couple of the boats had twins and these were fast gillnet boats. The common theme? The best fishermen look after their equipment, and take measures before failure. The one outlier? Well we had to operate a charter in an area with a limited number of individuals to choose from and it was clear their equipment was jury rigged and held together with bailing wire.

We have a KK42 with the Lehmann 135. A venerable and respected mechanic in Steveston who services the commercial fishing fleet and various small ferries and water taxis strongly recommended that I examine the dampener plate, which he helped my son and I do. It had been previously replaced 1,000 hours ago and it showed little wear. His advice on the Borg Warner transmission was to not operate the vessel at low rpms (<1,000) for extended periods. He also was concerned about where the shaft connected with the transmission as it was only held in place with a couple of set screws. He drilled right through the shaft and I put a stainless bolt with a nylox nut on it. On his advice, we put a 2nd belt on the alternator, which should reduce the overall load on the water pump. I have a spare starter motor. I change the impeller on the raw water pump every year and carry two spares. I have new aluminum fuel tanks and a ESI fuel polishing system, the same one I've seen installed on new build KK 58's. I move fuel about, polishing all fuel once a year, at least. I have dual Racor 900's. All filter elements are clean. Probably should get a spare alternator, water pump and a raw water pump as well. I have taken Bob Smith's course twice but I don't consider myself a mechanic by any stretch.

I wanted a single engine boat. Most of the commercial salmon boats are single engine. One fisherman told me: "two engines, twice the problems." It was for that reason I decided to choose a single engine boat. Good fishermen make sure everything gets a proper go over prior to the season. Most of the crab boats and some of the prawn boats have twins. The prawn boat that ties up in front of us had a problem with one of his Cat engines this spring. Both of engines had gone through a major service last year and one was not performing to specs this year and had to be removed for a major service again prior to the season. I'm not sure what work was carried out.

I guess I try and follow preventative maintenance.
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Old 12-27-2014, 05:15 PM   #39
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One other thing to consider is how fast you can make a repair and what is your tolerance for sea sickness. For example, suppose you suddenly hear an alarm and your engine temperature gauge reads 250 degrees F. The first thing you must do is shutdown the engine. The waters are rough and it's too deep to anchor. Your SO or other crew is now terrified as you turn beam to the sea.

You dash to the engine room which is now red hot and you need to change an impeller. You can can't get near that hot engine and the rocking and rolling is making you sick. You can imagine the rest. And, this is not a far fetched situation.

You will often hear that the big commercial fishing boats are single engine. Keep in mind that their goal is to fill the boat with fish or crab and a second engine is not only expensive but takes up "profitability" space. They also have experienced crew aboard that can probably tear down the engine and overhaul it at sea.

Howard
I highly recommend a sea anchor if you are offshore, points you to the swell to minimize issues such as this. IMHO a sea anchor is a required item for long range cruising.
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Old 12-27-2014, 05:23 PM   #40
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